BETHANY - The 67th annual Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Charity Football Classic is still five days away, but the work is well under way.
The players spent much of Sunday evening and Monday morning getting acquainted with the offensive and defensive schemes, but it was the bonding in the dorm rooms on the Bison campus that is equally important for the on-field success during Sunday's game at Wheeling Island Stadium.
"Things are going really well," said Ohio head coach Eric Schumacher. "Kids are picking things up well and you can see with each practice they're starting to grasp things even more."
THE 67TH annual Rudy Mumley OVAC?All-Star Charity Football Classic is slated for Sunday evening at Wheeling Island Stadium. Game Director Bob Koch (center) is pictured with both head coaches for the game. At left is Ohio head coach Eric Schumacher (Conotton Valley) and West Virginia head coach Doug Taylor (Madonna). Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
West Virginia head coach Doug Taylor arrived Sunday on a mission to make ammends from the last time he was a member of the West Virginia staff and suffered a setback.
He's not slowed down in the few days they've been in camp.
"We've put in about a third of our offense," Taylor said. "We're fast paced with this thing and we told the kids we're going to give them as much information as they could handle and go from there. We have athletic, versatile kids who can play a lot of positions and do a lot of things right now."
While there's plenty of work done, there's also some down time in the dorms for the players.
"These kids like to get on each other, but it's definitely in a good way," Schumacher smiled. "That's to be understood when you've got some kids who played each other during the regular season and there are rivalries going. It's fun to be around these guys and watch them come together from many different schools and form one team."
Union Local's Zane Ayouch has been thoroughly enjoying his week thus far. Slated to play wide receiver for the Buckeyes, Ayouch can already see the team coming together off the field.
"Only in two days, it's like we've been a team for a couple of years now," Ayouch said.
Each team - regardless of what level or what sport - has a few guys who are able to keep things loose in the lockerroom through some jovial antics.
Numerous Ohio players pointed out guys like Buckeye Local's Greg Ring and the Steubenville duo of William Houst and LeShawn Luke as the guys who've grabbed the reins in that regard.
"Greg, Houst and LeShawn are always making fun of people and have us laughing," said Buckeye Local's Josten Dear. "Greg's a clown and he really wasn't like that (during the season at Buckeye Local), but as soon as we got here, he started clowning on everyone."
While he layed off during the season, Ring did admit to winning the coveted class clown award in Buckeye Local's Class of 2012.
"I brought that award up here and decided to use it up here, too," Ring joked. "I am just glad to be a part of this team. We're one big family up here. Everyone talks to everyone and we just want to get that 'W'."
Wheeling Park's Lee Peluchette thinks the Buckeye State players are living a little too much in the past.
"The Ohio kids come in here thinking they're going to beat us bad," Peluchette said. "I don't know if it's an over-confidence, but they're talking. We're just going to keep our mouths shut until Sunday and do our talking on the field."
Ayouch didn't mix words when asked about Sunday's game as the Buckeye State tries to snap a two-game skid.
"I think this is going to be a great experience and West Virginia is going to get beat," Ayouch said. "Our practices have been going well, everyone's working hard and we'll be ready to get the win."
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